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The Soviet colonization of Venus began on June 11, 1985, with the landing of the first Soviet cosmonauts in what is modern day Gagaringrad. Since the 1990s, Soviet Union has established a permanent presence on planet Venus — all centered in eastern Aphrodite Terra. Following the signing of the Venus Treaty in 1999, the USSR relinquished total control over its settlements, paving the way for the independence of New Kamchatka in 2001 and Cukursia in 2008. Despite the independence of these areas, the USSR continues to hold onto several settlements on the planet (some of which are under joint control with other Earth nations), and is among the major powers on the planet.
Soviet interest in planet Venus dates back to the Cold War and the Space Race of the 1950s. The Soviets first established contact with Venus in the 1960s as part of the Venera program of interplanetary probes. In 1970, Venera 7 became the first Earth probe to transmit date from another planet, followed years later by the successful Venera 9 mission (which took the first images from the Venusian surface). Venera 13 confirmed the existence of life on Venus, which resulted in a manned mission in 1985. Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first person to set foot on another planet on June 11, 1985.